American Forces Press Service

Straight Talk on Anthrax from Top Doc


  By Douglas J. Gillert
 American Forces Press Service

 WASHINGTON -- A video interview of Dr. Sue Bailey, Assistant 
 Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, has been added to the 
 DoD anthrax information site on the World Wide Web.
 During the Armed Forces Radio and Television News Center "2-
 Minute Report" broadcast, Bailey talks about the safety and 
 effectiveness of the vaccinations. She discusses false reports 
 that some service members had received contaminated injections. 
 The report can be viewed and heard using Real Video software, 
 which can be downloaded to government computers free 
 of charge. 
 A more detailed print version of the Bailey interview also is 
 available. Bailey goes on to discuss the importance of the shots 
 in protecting service members against weaponized anthrax, which 
 is nearly 100 percent fatal if you're unprotected. She said the 
 vaccines work best when used with other protective measures, 
 such as chemical protection clothing and gas masks. 
 Both the video and news release can be found under "What's New" 
 on the "Countering the Anthrax Threat" 
 Web site. The site also contains a detailed, informative history 
 of anthrax, including a section called "Fact vs. Myth"
 that addresses common misconceptions about the 
 disease, the vaccine and the immunization program.
 Defense Secretary William S. Cohen directed the DoD-wide 
 immunization program in late 1997. Before units began receiving 
 the shots last summer, the Army, as executive agent, set up a 
 vaccination tracking system to ensure compliance. Cohen also 
 appointed Dr. Gerald Burrow of Yale University to review and 
 assess the plan before implementation.
 Service members and some mission-essential civilians assigned to 
 the Persian Gulf region began receiving the six-shot series in 
 summer 1998. Those in or headed to South Korea began the 18-
 month series in September. Cohen said it will take DoD seven 
 years to inoculate the total force of some 2.4 million active 
 duty and reserve members.